Operators will be able to sign up to the new Code over the next 12 months before it goes into full effect on 1 January 2020, with residents able to make a complaint against code signatories if they think their village is not meeting code standards.
Developed after a year-long consultation with operators and residents earlier this year, the Code covers everything from handling and resolving complaints and the marketing and selling of homes to contracts and leaving the village.
Villages who sign up will be required to nominate a Code Compliance Officer – where possible, not the village manager – who will act as a first point of contact for residents, while the Code will be overseen by an Administrator who will investigate any alleged breaches – and the penalties are serious.
Severe breaches published online
Severe breaches will result in the operator needing to appoint an independent auditor and the breach being reported on the Code website and can even see the operator removed from the Code Register.
While the Code is voluntary, it has been designed to work with the various state retirement village acts and the Australian Consumer Law too, and the Retirement Living Council (RLC) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), which are leading its rollout, are seeking to having it made mandatory by each state government and territory.
It’s welcome news for village residents. Last year’s Fairfax/Four Corners investigation into the sector proved there was more work to do to provide clarity and transparency for current and prospective residents and ensure they can be confident in their investment – the Code will go a long way towards this.
You can download a copy of the Code here.